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Dwyane Wade tells Jalen Rose how he went from shy to fly

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Dwyane Wade tells Jalen Rose how he went from shy to fly

This week’s “Renaissance Man” guest is a future NBA Hall of Famer, a father of four and a Hollywood husband. What he is not is a could’ve should’ve would’ve kind of guy living for his glory days. I asked Dwyane Wade about one of the biggest “what ifs” in the history of the NBA: What if LeBron James had stayed in Miami and continued to play with Dwyane and Chris Bosh? Could they have raised more championship banners in “Wade County”? He does not think so.

“I wasn’t in my prime anymore,” he told me. “And so that would have made it hard for us to really win if I was still going to be a big part of it. Chris Bosh, you know, not knowing what he was going to be dealing with later. He was in his prime and LeBron was in his, but I wasn’t in mine anymore. And it would have made it tough to keep going … my body was going through so much, so I felt like it ended when it should have, Jalen. I felt like we had an amazing run and we had an amazing college experience. And I felt like that four years was all we needed and we accomplished, you know, obviously what we accomplished, but I think it was enough.”

But the Chicago native, who has three NBA championship rings, knows his days of league titles aren’t necessarily behind him. He’s now a part owner of one of the top teams in the Western Conference, the Utah Jazz, led by Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley and Rudy Gay. He has a particularly close relationship with Mitchell.

“I know there’s a lot of great defenders in the league. But you cannot argue with what [Donovan Mitchell] brings to the game of basketball,” Wade said.

In November, he published his photo memoir, “Dwyane,” which chronicles his journey to become one of the best shooting guards in the game.

“It’s an image for a young kid to be able to look at someone that grew up like them, that looks like them, [talks] like them and see what’s possible,” he said, adding that Michael Jordan and, ahem, the Fab Five were tangible, touchable pictures to him and a testament to the idea of unlimited potential. “I wanted to be an image maker,” he said.

And showing is better than telling. D Wade admitted he was a “very shy kid.”

Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade published his photo memoir “Dwyane” in November.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

“I wasn’t someone who liked to talk or ask questions, so I would just listen,” he said. “If you ask anybody that knows me from back then, everyone [would say] ‘no way that this guy is the guy that he is today.’”

Now he is a smooth operator on and off the court. He’s a noted style guy and a vocal leader in the hoops world. It might have something to do with his other business, a wine endeavor called Wade Cellars. And you know what they say: in vino veritas.

But that transition from a young player to a mature businessman didn’t happen without work on his physical and emotional game. His wife Gabrielle Union was also a “Renaissance Man” guest and talked about how important therapy was when he hung up his jersey.

“I remember my first time going to therapy once I retired because I thought to myself any other time when I had rage, I had frustration or I had fear, anger, whatever, I could take it out on a basketball court,” he said. “I don’t have that outlet anymore. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to take it out on the ones closest to me, and that’s my loved ones. So let me go, sit also on my couch and talk about it. And I remember walking in and thinking I had nothing to really say. And two hours later I was like, ‘And when I was 3 years old’ … You know you needed it, and you needed all that.”

Dwayne Wade
Dwyane Wade admitted he was a “very shy kid.”
Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

When he was a kid, he dreamed about putting his family in a better financial situation. 

“I dreamed about one day having a big Thanksgiving and bringing all my family together,” he said. “At the end of the day, I feel like my biggest purpose in this life is to be a father. And I feel that it’s my most rewarding, and it’s the hardest job that I have.”

His son, Zaire, is playing in the NBA G-league and his daughter Zaya has come out as transgender.

“I’m trying my best to treat each kid individually as they appear and get to know each of them,” he said. “And so Zaya … She’s not Zaire … I’m loving the young lady that I’m getting the chance to be introduced to. So I don’t feel like I’ve done anything special. I feel like I’ve just done what is in the books for a parent to do, and that’s to sit back and listen and love and learn about your child. So that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Dwayne Wade
Dwyane Wade dreamed about putting his family in a better financial situation when he was a kid.
Christian Vierig/Getty Images

With Christmas only a few days away, I had to ask about his highs and lows during games on Jesus’ birthday.

“Well, I didn’t have a lot of bad memories. I think I ended my career 10-3 on Christmas … My favorite Christmas moment is tough. I played in the Garden … played against Kobe like five times on Christmas. So I guess my favorite one would have to be the first one when Shaq [went back to LA] for his first Christmas game,” he said adding the energy was crazy. “Shaq dunked on Andrew Bynum. And I remember he was running down, said, ‘I built this,’ ooh … you know, I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, man.’”

It’s not a stretch to say my friend has been a part of a lot of winning during his almost 40 years on this earth. But in 2013, he took a giant sartorial L when he wore a floral Versace bomber to a post-game press conference.

“That was a bad moment. It was at a press conference. It didn’t look right. I failed,” he admitted. Well, from the man who doesn’t miss, it’s refreshing to know even D Wade chucks up an air ball now and again.

Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade has three NBA championship rings.
Francois Durand/Getty Images

Detroit native Jalen Rose is a member of the University of Michigan’s iconoclastic Fab Five, who shook up the college hoops world in the early ’90s. He played 13 seasons in the NBA, before transitioning into a media personality. Rose is currently an analyst for “NBA Countdown” and “Get Up,” and co-host of “Jalen & Jacoby.” He executive produced “The Fab Five” for ESPN’s “30 for 30” series, is the author of the best-selling book, “Got To Give the People What They Want,” a fashion tastemaker, and co-founded the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a public charter school in his hometown.

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker
USA TODAY Sports

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers

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Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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